Monthly Archives: September 2012

Day 61: Communication and Fallen Ice Cubes

“So you’re just going to leave the ice there, huh?” N mused, referring to two ice cubes that had escaped the tray and found their way to the floor. I was in the kitchen preparing a bottle of ice water for our beach trip as he approached me. “Footprints too?” Apparently, walking in my sandals near the fallen ice had left smudges on the tile.

N was probably being playful, but his ill-timed comments struck a nerve. Only moments earlier, I had single-handedly cleaned the entire kitchen, including a sink full of dirty dishes. Now he was complaining about ice cubes? Exasperated, I told him that I couldn’t do it all. I apologized with a biting sharpness intended to inflict maximum guilt. After that, my mood went south fast. N attempted to be affectionate and make light conversation during our stroll to the beach. All he received was terse replies and body language colder than the ice melting back on the kitchen floor.

We eventually settled into our spot on the sand and laid quietly side by side. The K of relationships past may have let this anger passively build until it boiled over and ruined a perfectly enjoyable summer day. Instead, I told N that I wanted to talk and work through my bad mood. Anxiously forcing out the words, I explained that when he criticizes me it makes me feel resentful. N paused for a moment. “I was only joking. But when I make those comments, it negatively effects your emotions. I say things without thinking sometimes and I need to work on that,” he conceded.

And with that, my dark mood washed away as quickly as the ocean climbed the shore and reversed with the tide. N has always been great at reading my disposition based on the slightest shift in tone or facial expression. He also knows exactly what to say to help balance me when I’m on edge. I’ve learned that in a relationship, it’s important to be open about your feelings – even the silly, irrational ones (yes, I admit it). Laying next to N at the beach that day, I was reminded about the value of two-way communication. That, and the hidden danger of fallen ice cubes.

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Day 59: Bedmaking and Perfect Corners

It began one morning after N left for work. Getting ready in his apartment, I eyed the rumpled mess of sheets covering the mattress. The disfigured comforter looked lifeless. Pillows of varying sizes littered the carpet. Despite already running behind, I decided to spend the extra time to make his bed. This was a combined reflection of my Type A personality and nurturing instinct. I gently pulled the sheets upward until the creases vanished. I fluffed the comforter and tucked the edges into perfect little corners. I propped the color-coordinated pillows against the headboard.

After heading to the office, I forgot about my earlier bedmaking efforts. However later that evening, I received a sweet text message from N who was happily surprised by my small gesture. I think coming home to a neatly-made bed made him feel appreciated and cared for. I haven’t stopped making the bed since. The funny thing is, the second N sees his tidy bed, he rolls around in the covers and ruins the clean aesthetic like an excited child pouncing on a freshly raked pile of leaves. But I’m okay with that. I don’t mind him smashing the pillows into the headboard. I’m glad he messes up the linens and disrupts the perfect corners. Because it just means I get to make the bed for him all over again.

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Day 56: Affirmation and an Overdue Break

Words of affirmation. While the concept seems simple, it often gets lost in our daily hustle and bustle. The best affirmation comes as a surprise because the randomness makes it infinitely more genuine. In that instance, a private train of thought reveals itself in a moment of authenticity.

Yesterday, work was relentless. Engaging with demanding clients forced me to operate at hyperspeed. The clock quickly struck 2 p.m. and, by then, my focus was waning. On the heels of a hectic morning, I needed to mentally check out (if only for a second). Suddenly a buzz cut through the air, signaling that my cell phone had an incoming text message. Relieved by the welcome distraction, I reached for the device. The edge of my mouth curled into a much-needed smile as my eyes fell to the screen and absorbed a single line.

“Thanks for being a great girlfriend.”

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